Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another J6/St Lucia trip completed!

What a wonderful and scenic island. Each time I return with the Buddipole in the Carribean group, I discover more I like. I highly recommend this island to visit, either for a sightseeing vacation or ham radio activities. See our J6 website

With a "new" group of Buddipole users, we were operational from the "Chateau Devaux" in a matter of hours starting Monday morning, 5 Dec. And the 15m-10m bands were just plain "HOT"! 10m opened early (about 2 hrs after sunrise) into Europe and was going strong into the USA until an hour after sunset. Same for 15m and 12m. 20m and 17m seemed "dead" but were probably open but everyone was on the higher bands.

I entered into the ARRL 10m Contest on Sat/Sun. Really only operated about 12 hrs but had tremendous runs into Europe and the US. Wish I had operated more CW to boost my multiplier count but I'm sure that I was the only operater from J6....hence a First Place! Here's my clubLog totals:

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Back to St Lucia as J68UN

The "Buddies in the Caribbean" mini- DXpedition group which specializes in 100 watt or less low power radios and Buddipole portable antenna systems is back again to St Lucia (J6) on Dec 4 – 12, 2011. The north shore Villa location was magnificent on our first visit in Feb 2010 and we want to demonstrate "ultralite" dxpeditioning into magnificent "vista" locations, operating a field portable battery-only radio with backpackable, lightweight antennas and most of all "having fun" with a new group of operators.

The eight operators are: Budd/W3FF, Guy/N7UN, Bill/AA4OC, Barclay/WU1B, Tom/K9CJM, Steve/WF2S, Joe/N7BF, and David/WD9CMD. There will be 3 villa stations in operation on 160-10m using CW, SSB, and RTTY. At the same time, several teams will be battery-only, field portable either from St Lucia beaches or scenic mountain tops. They group is applying for a unique J68UN callsign for the ARRL 10m contest on Dec 10-11th. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or mail to the operator’s home callsign (SASE required). For more current information, see our J6 website. Hope to work you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SOTA RadioAdventure to the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, NE Oregon

Eagle Cap Peak (SOTA W7/NE-008) is one of the predominate landmarks in the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon. Popular as a premier trout fishing and backpacking area, the wilderness area encompasses over 50 SOTA-qualified Peaks, many over 9,000 ft. The backcountry is characterized by deep river valleys with soaring summit ridges, often 4,000 ft above the valley floors. Most mountain ridges are characterized by significant glacier carving with spectacular cirques and headwalls, numerous high mountain lakes, and big moraines that formed Wallowa Lake, the central tourist and camping destination for this area. The area is bordered on the east by the Hells Canyon Wilderness Area and the Snake River.

Historically it was home to the Nez Perce Indians from the early 1400's and their descendants still occupy this region adding a cultural dimension to the cities and small towns. See for more of the despicable history of broken Treaties and massacres by the US Military in the late 1800's.

From the city of Lostine, we drove up the Lostine Creek Corridor, a deep mountain valley which follows the Lostine Creek to the Two Pan Trailhead and campground. There are several trails into the "high lakes" area which includes Minam and Mirror Lakes. We hiked up the East Lostine Creek trail for about 7 miles gaining over 2,000 ft. The majority of the elevation gain is in the first 2.5 miles then plateaus out to a more gentle high valley area flanked by huge mountain ridges either side of Lostine Creek.

The Eagle Cap summit trail branches off from the Mirror-Minam Lake trail and is a fairly steep 2.7 mile hike. Elevation gain is about 2,000 ft from the Mirror Lake (7,600 ft). The top is spectacular with vistas in all directions. The north and east sides of the summit are steep dropoffs of 2,000 ft or more. The east side is an open cirque and "looks" invitingly easy as a return trail past Glacier Lake. Don\\\'t be deceived (as we were). There is no trail down and you will be "bouldering" for most of your descent. Granite rocks are very slippery when wet.

Ham Radio Setup: This is an open and exposed summit. High winds should be expected and be especially careful near the north and east sides of the summit. It would be very easy to "slip" on the loose rock and plummet over a 2,000 ft drop to become a SK!

There is a very good local 2m repeater (KB7DZR, 147.000+, 103.5T) with Echolink and APRS nodes and excellent backcountry coverage, at least from the mountain tops. It is monitored by a number of friendly locals and is owned/maintained by Scott Hampton. See his webpage for more information and weather-reporting capabilities. Make sure you contact Tim/KB7RVL, Lorna/KB7RVI, or Larry/K7BUY if you are in the area.

Eagle Cap Peak would be a difficult day hike. Plan at least to camp overnight at Mirror Lake. In the summer months, especially on weekends, this campground can get "crowded" so plan your trip accordingly. Also expect horses or llamas on these trails.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coloradio nS0TA in Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park Radio Adventures
For three days I hiked 3 different peaks in Rocky Mtn National Park (RMNP) the first week of August. I had never visited the Park before and now understand why it was preserved as a national resource in 1915. Nearly 1/3 of the Park is above treeline, 11,400 ft. A number of its Peaks are SOTA-qualified, an Activators paradise!

Early Tuesday, Aug 2, I was up early, eager to get into the Park and the Bear Lake Trailhead for Hallett Pk/W0/FR-019. I didn't know what to expect logistically but with some advanced help from Rich/W0LI, a local residing in Estes Park, I found my way to the Park & Ride to Bear Lake. The Park is crowded with visitors, especially those from the midwest trying to escape the August heat. Parking is limited and the easiest/fastest way to get around the Park is by the frequent shuttle buses.

See my pictures for this trip.
The Flattop trail is well-traveled and maintained. The challenge is the 3,400 ft elevation gain from 9,300 to 12,700 ft, not an easy task for a flatlander! The Flattop Trail is one of the more popular hikes, characterized by many vista overlooks and a lot of people hiking the trail. The top of Flattop is non-descript. Follow the signs and rock cairns to Hallett Peak. Be sure to look "into" the Tyndall Glacier at the sign. Just spectacular! Hallet is a rock/boulder climb in many places and certainly wind exposed. Follow the rock cairns to the peak. See this link for more climbing information.

For Day 2 of my 3 day odyssey in RMNP, I chose to hike Ypsilon Peak (W0/FR-009-13,414') in the Mummy Range just east of the Alpine Center. Access to the Chapin Trailhead is up the ONE WAY Old Trail Head Road which just opened days before my arrival due to excessive snow depths. If the road is closed, it is possible to hike down the 1 mile to Chapin Trailhead from the Alpine Center. I had a Nat'l Geographic Map #200 which has sufficient detail and includes most trails. Stop at any of the Visitor's Centers for trailmap pamphlets.

These Mummy Range trails are not part of the "official" trail system in RMNP and, as a result, will not appear on maps. Don't know why but I suspect the Forest Service doesn't want to encourage hiking in this area. But the Chapin Trail is hiked often to be easily navigable although trail head parking is very limited...maybe 10 cars or so. Get there early for a parking spot. Access to the Old Trail Head Road is off Hyw 34 and is a narrow gravel/dirt road. See this link 
for more information. See some pictures at this link.

For Day 3 of my 3 day odessey in RMNP, I chose to hike Sundance Peak (W0/FR-019-12,416') in the Mummy Range just east of the Alpine Center. The goal was to meet up with 3 of the "locals" to demo a SOTA Activation at or near sunrise! W0LI/Rich, NQ4O/Dan, and KD4PDW/David. Rich is retired in Estes Park, Dan is a Park Ranger and David is 2-week old ham but works in Estes Park.

Take Hwy 34 west and about 3-1/2 miles past the Rainbow Curves vista pullout, you will find an unmarked pullout on the downhill side of the road. I had a Nat'l Geographic Map #200 which has sufficient road detail and includes most trails and vista locations. See these links
for more information and my pictures ,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Coloradio nS0TA and N0B qrp Radio Adventures

I have planned another nS0TA adventure extravaganza for August, this time to Coloradio for two adventures: 1) the annual Colo-14er N0B event ( see for detail information) and 2) three days in Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park. I've never spent any time in ROMO (see for info) and am looking forward to exploring this magnificent NP. A local ham (W0LI) who also is a volunteer at the Park has assisted me in logistics planning: Aug 2/Tue: SOTA activate Hallett Peak (W0/FR-018), an iconic ROMO landmark. More info and pictures at On Aug 3/Wed: activate Yipsilon Peak (W0/FR-009), another beautiful peak in the Mummy Range NW of Estes Park. See for some great pictures. Then on Aug 4/Thurs: W0LI/Rich has organized a "sunrise" local club hike and "demo" activation of Sundance Peak (W0/FR-019). The 3 or 4 am departure may be the biggest challenge! More info and pictures at

Then a drive south to Steve's/wG0AT place near Colo Springs to prep for our three day adventure into the San Juan Range in south central Colo for our "big 14-er event" for N0B and participation in the annual Colo-14er ham radio special event on Aug 7th. This year KT5X/Fred will join us. The plan is to drive into the trailhead on Friday, camp and hike locally, then on Saturday move up to a higher base camp (around 12,000 ft) in preparation for an early, before dawn departure on Sunday. Our faithful sherpas, Rooster and Peanut will help us "ol' goats" with the logistics! You can see some great pictures of Handies at

Handies Peak 14,060 ft on right
In all cases, we plan to operate at least one station on 14.061-CW. Watch for more information each day for these trips. Follow us at We look forward to working you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

nS0TA to the White Mtns of New Hampshire

I'm planning a 5-day hike and camping trip thru the White Mtns of NH which will include a 6 peak SOTA extravaganza thru some of the most scenic and physically demanding mountains in the NE USA. And the week will end with a "benefit" climb (for the summit observatory, see for more detailed information) of Mt. Washington 6,288ft/1,917m, which has the distinction as the "Home of the world's Worst Weather". Read about the 200+ mph winds at

Since I've not spent anytime in these mountains, my times are approximate and I won't activate (or climb) in rainy or dangerous weather. I'll SMS post via Twitter/cellphone my current summit status. Here's my daily planned iteniary:

Monday/18 Jul: 7 hr driveup from NJ to the Whites. Camp at Layfayette Campground.

Tuesday/19 Jul: Hike the Franconia Ridge Loop with a stop at Mt. Layfayette (W1/HA-002). See for some nice pictures and detailed info.

Wed/20 Jul: Hike the Hancock Loop Trail with a stop at Mt. Hancock (W1/HA-046). See for some nice pictures of the "Hancocks".

Thurs/21 Jul: If the wx cooperates, this will be a "double" attempt as Mt Jefferson (W1/HA-120) and Mt Adams (W1/HA--093) are within 2.5 miles of each other. See for some info. Also

Fri/22 Jul: This will be a quick one if the wx is cooperating to Wildcat Mtn (W1/HA060).

Sat/23 Jul: This is the BIG one, a benefit climb for the wx observatory at the summit. See Much has been written about Mt Washington. I look forward to the visit and, wx and wind cooperating, the SOTA activation. The "Seek the Peak" organizers are planning somewhat of a big festival/party with some 500 folks planned to attend. Just more really good stories!

Hope to work you during this nS0TA week! Regards, Guy/N7UN with the club call nS0TA.

Friday, July 01, 2011

nS0TA to the Green Mtns of Vermont

I will activate 4 peaks in VT from July 4th-6th on a 3 day camping/hiking trip. The wx looks favorable right now.

July 4th: Mt Stratton (W1/GM-007) at 3,940ft (1201m). This will be a 9.3 mi loop hike. Planned summit time of 1800 utc with my K1 on 14.061-cw. Overnight camp at Grout Pond.

July 5th: Pico Peak (W1/GM-183) at 3,957 ft (1206m) will be first. With a 2.9 mi hike to the summit and a planned activation at 1500 utc with my K1 on 14.061-cw. Then around 1700 utc or so, I'll hike 3 mi south along the Appalachian Trail to Killington (W1/GM-002). Killington is the site of a famous NE ski resort. Elevation is 4,235 ft (1291m). Planned activation time is around 1900 utc. I will then hike the return route for a total hike of about 12 mi.

July 6th: I'll drive north to Mount Mansfield, VT's tallest mtn at 4,393 ft (1,339m). This will be a 7.9 mi loop hike. Planned summit time of 1600 utc.

I've never hiked in the Green Mtns before so changes in the plans can occur. I will announce via Twitter to my status and any changes in these plans.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Club Call nS0TA Received!

Based on Fred's/KT5X effort in attaining a club call, wS0TA, I formed a Club with Steve/wG0AT under the FCC rules.  With the appropriate paperwork signed and submitted with the ARRL at Dayton, we received our initial club callsign of KD2AGC within an hour!  Three days later, I applied for a Vanity callsign of nS0TA after paying the $13 for a 10-yr license.  Then the 18 day waiting period began but by June 19th, I received confirmation of the issuance of nS0TA!  Yahoo!  See for more information.

Now a whole other dimension of SOTA fun! And with "some help from our friends", nS0TA Club was nicknamed, the "SOTAmigos"!

On 30 June I will "christen" the new call by a local SOTA opeation to High Point, NJ W2/NJ-001.  I will start out on 14.061-cw and if band condx are good, I will try 18.096-cw.  Hope to work you!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 2011 News Update for upcoming N7UN Adventures

W1W Special Event July 21-23rd, Mt Washington, NH Observatory Benefit. Concurrently a SOTA Activation. See for more detailed information.

N0B Colorado 14-er Climb Special Event on Aug. 6-7th wG0AT/Steve, AC7MA/Rich, and N7UN/Guy will SOTA activate another 14,000+ ft Colorado peak. See for the latest information.

N7UN/p A mid-Sept week long backpacking and SOTA activation trip into the Eagle Cap Wilderness area of NE Oregon. wG0AT/Steve, W6HFP/Chris, and maybe KE7RVL/Tim.

J68UN A Dec 4-12th mini-DXpedition trip back to St. Lucia (J6) with the Buddipole folks and a bunch of "new" dxpeditioners. Always a welcome break from winter with a bunch of fun-loving folks. Planned /p operations from the beaches and mountaintops.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What a great 10 days in J7-land Dominica
Wow!  What a great time due in part by my escape from weeks of sub-freezing temperatures in NJ!  Certainly the 80's in Dominica were a welcome treat.  The north shore of Dominica is beautiful.  Actually the whole island is a recreational playground with many beautiful beaches and an abundance of hiking trails.  Economically, however, Dominica is much more impoverished than other Caribbean islands with greater than 60% of its estimated 70k population chronically unemployed.  Tourism plays a major economic role and there are many, many roadside stands selling local fruits, vegetables, and handmade crafts.  And the island has launched one of the first national hiking trails that goes from the north to the south through two of its national parks.  The Wai'tuKubuli National Trail is 174km long, divided into 14 segments, is destined to be a major Caribbean eco-destination for hikers.  The trail passes from the southern beaches through two National Heritage protected  Parks north to the very scenic north shore ending in history-rich Portsmouth. 

The intriped Buddipole team of Chris/W6HFP, Steve/wG0AT, and myself spent nearly each day of our week long dxpedition hiking and field activating remote beach or mountain sites in this very scenic island.  See some of the pictures of the many days hiking and some of the beautiful beaches we had some QRP fun, often between frequent rain showers!  But the rain squalls were short lived and more importantly, they were warm!

Steve/wG0AT is creating one of his famous videos of our fun.  Stay tuned for more action!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feb 2011 News Release:

The "Buddies in the Caribbean" DXpedition (Team #1) which specializes in 100 watt or less low power radios and the Buddipole portable antenna systems are going to Dominica (J7) on February 1-9th, 2011.  Yes, a very welcome change in weather from the cold and snow of north NJ!  Part of the "fun" is the hiking into scenic locations and operating QRP portable!  My Dominica callsign is J79UN. 

We plan to stay at the Calibashie Cove hotel ( ) on the north shore of Dominica.  After two very successful mini-DXpeditions to St Lucia in 2010, we look forward to demonstrating our capabilities for "ultralite" DXpeditioning into magnificent vista locations, operating a field portable, battery-only radio with backpackable, lightweight antennas and most of all having fun.  The entire mini-DXpedition is limited to equipment that can fit in your airline suitcase.  QSL to N7UN or LoTW.  SASE required.  NO IRC's or eQSL.